– written by HanSpinel, TheMandalorianWolf, Conn8d, and robotical712
In the next series of articles, we will be exploring Finn’s story in the Sequel Trilogy and how it may play out in The Rise of Skywalker. We believe a “Bait and Wait” technique (opposed to the “bait and switch”) is being used for Finn’s backstory similar to Rey’s delayed parentage reveal, and also Kylo Ren’s true backstory (i.e., the fall of Ben Solo)….This article is also available as a podcast:
Finn’s marketing during the lead up to The Force Awakens (TFA), including his symbolic use of the Skywalker legacy saber, left many fans walking out of the theater feeling as though a “bait and switch” had been used regarding his potential as a Jedi or Force sensitive character.
Several have even argued that Finn’s character arc fell further down the totem pole in The Last Jedi (TLJ), being largely sidelined for the “Force plot” of the film. Regardless, creator commentary strongly suggests that the seeds of Finn’s origin story have been planted, and are only waiting to blossom when the time is right….
You Don’t Know a Thing About Me
J.J. Abrams recently confirmed to ABC News that “there’s more to the story” regarding Rey’s parentage in The Rise of Skywalker.
This plan, of course, dates back to TFA, where J.J. also confirmed that there’s more to Finn’s story being kept secret for now:
In parsing out this exchange (which occurs prior to the official release of TFA), the article itself first identifies that “Finn” is a “runaway Stormtrooper” – meaning in the simplest sense that he is leaving the FO (bad guys), and will therefore likely be a “good guy.” Troopers in the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy are identified only by number (TK-421); so concealing that “Finn” once was a stormtrooper or that Finn’s name is actually related to his trooper number would be redundant/unnecessary in this case; i.e., JJ is concealing something more.
Note that the question asked to JJ is: “Is [Rey and Finn having no last name] deliberate? Is there a piece of information that’s being held back there about their names — perhaps because their last names are ones we may already know?” JJ answers (emphasis added), “I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that **their last names** aren’t public record.” Technically speaking, this implicates without question that both Rey and Finn do have last names (known to JJ and likely the LFL story group etc.), and that both are being concealed from the audience for unknown reasons.
More broadly speaking however, and substituting “family” for “last names,” the quote above strongly suggests that Rey and Finn’s families are 1) specifically relevant to the Sequel Trilogy story or represent unknown context to current storylines, and 2) they are key components intentionally being saved for the conclusion and finale of the Skywalker Saga. In fact, the same can be said for the fall of Ben Solo, which is hinted at by Lor San Tekka, Han and Leia in The Force Awakens, and also by three different versions of the same flashback presented in The Last Jedi.
A Braided Narrative: Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren
Perhaps as a symbolic nod to their secretive and currently hidden backstories waiting to be revealed, note that Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren each begins the Sequel Trilogy hidden behind a mask, later revealing themselves to the audience. Are all three backstories and narrative arcs related or braided in unknown context?
Finn and Rey are the only main protagonists to confront evil face-to-face and in hand-to-hand combat during the climax of each film (just like Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul, and Obi-Wan and Anakin vs. Darth Tryannus). This may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting how narratively significant this is for Finn’s arc moving forward as he is well-defined and intertwined as a co-protagonist with Rey. And as we have presented in the past – he may very well represent “The Found Skywalker” of the Sequel Trilogy rooted in bravery, love, and devotion. (This is in no way a slight to Poe Dameron, who is also well-established as a primary ST hero. However, Poe’s backstory is well-laid out, and his character progression is currently ongoing, in several EU materials. Poe’s detailed backstory and character progression is in stark contrast to the intentionally hidden backstories for Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren as defined in this article).
For example, the co-protagonist theme continues into The Last Jedi as well. Though separated, Rian Johnson makes clear that Finn and Rey spend the entirety of The Last Jedi thinking and worrying about the other. Again, and perhaps intentionally underplayed, Rey and Finn’s separate paths lead to the same place, and their confrontations with the forces of evil initiate the climax of The Last Jedi, which peaks during Luke’s confrontation with Kylo Ren. (A subtle glimpse of their paths crossing, yet again and unbeknownst to them at the time, takes place when Finn, Rose, DJ, and BB-8 walk past a rising elevator carrying Rey and Kylo Ren on one of the main bridges of the Supremacy).
The entirety of the Resistance find peace (including a final sigh of relief from a teary-eyed and extremely emotional Luke Skywalker) only when Finn and Rey are reunited at the conclusion of the climax of The Last Jedi.
Though much focus has been given to Rey being equal and opposite to Kylo Ren, and that Poe perhaps represents the son Leia lost in Ben Solo, we have also detailed how Finn represents several significant narrative foils to Kylo Ren through the choices each makes in the context of their upbringings. Ultimately, each of the sequel trilogy heroes represents elements of what Ben Solo could’ve been to his family legacy (Rey), the choices he’s made in the face of great consequence (Finn), and his potential to help lead the fight for good (Poe). However, and in the strictest and most objective sense: Finn and Rey have thus far been tasked with facing the primary villains face-to-face at the most crucial moments in each film, and it stands to reason that Finn may be braided into another climactic and face-to-face battle in The Rise of Skywalker.
Is a re-match in store between Finn and Rey vs. Kylo Ren?
Clearly, there appears to be much more to Finn’s story that was seeded long ago. In this series of articles we’ll analyze foreshadowing and character development clues in the films, TFA script, and EU canon to speculate on the more pressing mysteries surrounding our favorite Jakku-hating hero….